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As providers of rental
housing, and as proud members of MAOMA, we recognize that we have important
safety, ethical and legal responsibilities and obligations. In the way we operate our apartment
rental businesses, and in how we interact with applicants, residents and the
general public, we pledge the following:
- At all
times, we will be pleasant, courteous, honest and fair. In dealing with any complaints,
concerns or problems brought to our attention, we will be guided by the
concept of mutual respect between landlord and tenant and will act in a
manner that reflects positively on the rental industry.
- We will
cooperate with other MAOMA members in providing an exchange of information
and we will support the educational efforts of MAOMA and its affiliated
- We will support MAOMA’s lobbying
efforts in the state legislature that help to insure that Maine’s
landlord/tenant laws are practical and fair for all.
- We will endeavor to become
knowledgeable about and comply with local, state and federal laws, codes
and regulations that pertain to or have an impact on rental housing.
- We will not steer or try to influence an applicant’s
decision. We will show all the
available apartments and not suggest that one apartment or complex might
be better for the applicant than another. We will let the applicant decide.
- We believe in the value of a written
rental policy statement that we can show to applicants and that will help
to prove we do not discriminate.
It can state that we
do not discriminate and that we fully comply with federal and state Fair
Housing laws. Typically, such
statements also include rental criteria, application process, occupancy
guidelines, and apartment availability policy.
- We will use the same tenant selection criteria
for everyone. (For example, maximum number of people to occupy
a particular apartment, minimum allowed income, and standards for rental
history, credit history, criminal history, and guarantors.
- We will use the same
screening/investigation procedures for all qualified applicants. (For
example, credit history, rental history, criminal history, and job
- We recommend using the same method of evaluating rental
applications for everyone. (For
example, a point system).
- We will not inquire about familial status. However, inquiring
about total number of occupants is acceptable.
- We will not inquire about disabilities. Even if the prospect brings up the subject, we will
be careful not to ask questions about the disability, although we may
discuss our community’s policies and the apartments we have available.
- If requested by the handicapped, we will not refuse to
make reasonable accommodations of rules, policies, practices or
services. (An accommodation is considered reasonable when a
need is confirmed and when it does not impose an undue financial or
administrative burden or require a fundamental change in the nature of the
housing services that we provide.
Remember, we must wait for the applicant or resident to ask
for an accommodation before we can offer to provide it. Handicapped people have both
rights and responsibilities.
One of their responsibilities is to ask for special help
when they need it.
- When verifying the need for accommodation, we will not
ask about the nature or severity of the handicap. Instead, we will focus on the
functional limitation and the extent to which the requested accommodation
can help to overcome it. We have a right to ask the prospect or resident to
either write a letter or to fill out a form stating the functional
limitation and the requested accommodation. The letter or form should also ask for the name,
address and phone number of the health care provider and grant us
permission to verify with the resident’s doctor or health care provider
that: 1) the resident has a
functional limitation and is disabled as defined by federal law; and 2)
the requested accommodation is not just nice but necessary.
- We will allow handicapped
renters, at their expense, to make reasonable modifications of
living areas, exterior premises or common areas.
(However, the landlord may require the handicapped tenant, upon
vacating the property, to restore the interior of the rental apartment to the condition
that existed before the modification. Also, a landlord may require an
escrow fund to guarantee and/or pay for return modifications in the rental
unit when a person leaves. A
landlord may not condition permission to make modifications to public and common use areas on the
renter agreeing to restore such areas to the condition before
- We will not put in our leases any of the following lease
provisions that are unenforceable and are violations of the Maine Unfair
Trade Practices Act:
- Any provision that absolves the landlord from
liability for the negligence of the landlord or the landlord’s agent;
- Any provision that requires the tenant to pay
the landlord’s legal fees in enforcing the rental agreement. (An
exception to this is any provision that authorizes, but does not require,
award of attorney’s fees to the prevailing party after a contested
hearing to enforce the rental agreement in cases of wonton disregard
of the terms of the rental agreement. Examples of wonton disregard are: termination of the tenancy
without cause, destruction of the premises, assaulting the property
manager, or possibly even failure to pay rent.)
- Any provision that requires
the tenant to give a lien upon the tenant’s property for the amount of
any rent or other sums due the landlord: and,
- Any provision that requires
the tenant to acknowledge that the provisions of the rental agreement,
including tenant rules, are fair and reasonable.
- We will not assess a penalty for the late payment of
rent, unless we gave the
tenant written notice at the time they entered into the rental agreement
that a penalty, up to but not exceeding 4% of one month’s rent, may be
charged if payment is not made within 14 days from the time the payment is
- We will provide at least 45 days’ written notice prior
to any rent increase. Note: The notice must be received prior to the
effective date. In the case
of Section 8, a 60 days’ notice is required.
- We will correct hazards as soon as
we learn of them. We will not
rely on the fact that a hazard is obvious and the tenant knows about
it. We will not delay repairs
because the tenant is being evicted.
helps to prevent lawsuits.
- We will not deny the rights of tenants to repair serious
problems and to deduct the cost (up to $250 or one-half of the monthly
rent, whichever is greater) from the rent. (Note:
Maine law requires that, except for an emergency, tenant must first
notify the landlord in writing of his/her intention to correct the
condition at landlord’s expense.
If we fail to comply within 14 days after being notified by the
tenant in writing by certified mail, return receipt requested, or as
promptly as conditions require in case of an emergency, the tenant may
cause the work to be done with due professional care and with the same
quality of materials as are being repaired. Certain repairs (electrical, oil burner or plumbing
equipment repairs) must be done by licensed professionals.)*
- We will not disclaim the Maine Warranty of Habitability
unless the lease specifically charges a lower rent in return for unsafe
conditions. Excluding such
exception, we will maintain our rental properties in a safe, peaceful and
habitable condition and make sure they comply with health, safety, and fire
codes. The dwelling unit’s heating facilities will be capable of
maintaining a minimum temperature of at least 68 degrees Fahrenheit at a
distance of 3 feet from the exterior walls, 5 feet above floor level at an outside
temperature of minus 20 degrees Fahrenheit. The plumbing, electrical and hot
water systems will be in good and safe working order. We will install the required number of hard-wired, battery
backup smoke detectors, some of which must be interconnected, and promptly
replace or repair inoperable detectors.
We will install sprinkler systems, if required. We will provide two approved means of
egress from each apartment and check for blocked exits. Common stairs and hallways will be
adequately lit at all times. We will routinely check for and act to correct,
when aware of them, other health and safety hazards such as insect
infestations, a leaking roof, steps, railings and floor boards in disrepair,
broken window panes, cluttered hallways, improperly stored solvents, oily rags
and other flammables in the basement, slippery steps and walkways, etc.
- Renovations can cause lead poisoning. It only takes a small amount of
lead-contained dust to poison a child. Therefore, we will use safe maintenance practices when renovating
or performing maintenance activities. These
include choosing methods that don’t generate dust, if possible; working in
small, contained areas; and cleaning up after the job is completed.
- We will notify existing tenants, in
writing, about renovations and remodeling activities in pre-1978 housing,
before the work begins, but no earlier than 60 days before the
renovation. We will follow the special EPA’s regulations for
renovations and again provide the pamphlet “How to Protect Your Family
From Lead in Your Home”.
These regulations became effective as of June 1, 1999. They apply to a landlord
performing work in his/her building.
They also apply to anybody performing work for a trade or for
barter, or for any kind of compensation, whatsoever. Note: When hiring an outside contractor to renovate
apartments or common areas, the contractor must give the required
information to both landlord/manager and tenants. Lead, if contained, is a housing
issue. If not contained and
poisoning occurs, it becomes a health issue.
- We will routinely oversee our properties to ensure that
peace and quiet, law and order, and safety are maintained.
- Other than in an emergency, we will not enter a
resident’s apartment without first obtaining permission or without first
leaving a 24-hour written notice.
- We will not unfairly require the tenant to pay for
common area electricity or other common area utilities.
- If it becomes necessary to evict a resident, we will
follow the procedures outlined in Maine law. (Because of the law’s complexity and need for accuracy,
we will preferably use a lawyer who is knowledgeable in this area, and/or
use for reference and guidance, our previous experiences and the Maine
Eviction Manual which is available to all MAOMA members. The Maine Eviction Manual is not
to be used as a substitute for the advice of a lawyer.)
- We will not forcibly evict tenants by changing the
locks, removing their belongings, or cutting off their utilities. Only an enforcement officer can force a tenant to leave,
and this can be done only after the court orders an eviction.
- We will not evict a tenant for complaining about living
conditions within the dwelling unit that may constitute a violation of a
building, housing, sanitary or other code, ordinance, regulation or
- We will not evict a tenant in retaliation for membership
in an organization concerned with landlord-a tenant relationships.
- We will abide by the Federal and Maine Fair Credit
Reporting Acts. Specifically, we will:
the following statement to the applicant in writing, or in the same manner the
application is made, prior to requesting a credit report: “Credit
reports may be obtained in connection with the application. Upon your request, you will be informed
of the name and address of the consumer reporting agency that furnished the
an applicant’s signed permission to get a credit report;
- send a
notice to applicants we reject, giving the reasons we denied their application,
the name, address and phone number of the consumer reporting agency that
provided the report and the applicant’s rights under federal law; and
- if we
report delinquent rent or other monies owed to a credit bureau or to a
tenant-screening firm that reports to a credit bureau, we will do it accurately
and will correct and update information on a timely basis.
- We will not
charge a tenant for the months remaining on the lease, after the tenant is
evicted or leaves, unless a reasonable effort is made to re-let the
premises. Neither will we charge
for the months remaining on the lease if we expressly agreed to accept a
surrender of the premises and end the tenant’s liability.
- We will not dispose of tenant’s abandoned or unclaimed
property (following the tenant’s vacating the rental unit) other than by
following the procedures outlined in Title 14, Section 6013 and in 33 M.R.S.A.
Section 1818 of Maine law.
- In compliance with 14 MRSA 6032, we will not require a
security deposit greater than an amount equal to two months rent. (On move-in, the combination of rent and
security deposit cannot exceed the equivalent of three months rent.)* We understand that we cannot circumvent this prohibition
by designating an additional amount as a “last month’s rent” or “pet
deposit”. Any advance deposit is
considered to be a security deposit and it cannot exceed two months rent.
- We will not commingle security
deposits with personal funds.
(They must be in a separate account.)*
- In compliance with 14 MRSA 6032, we will return the
security deposit to the tenant upon their vacating the premises. If there is cause for retaining
the deposit or any portion of it, we will provide the tenant with a
written statement itemizing the reasons for retention:
- In the case of a written rental agreement,
within the time, not to exceed 30 days, stated in the agreement, and
- In the case of a tenancy at will, within 21
days after the termination of the tenancy or the surrender and acceptance
of the premises, whichever occurs later.*
The written statement will be accompanied by a full
payment of the difference between the security deposit and the amount
retained. If we do not know the
exact final cost for work to be done, we will use an estimate for what the
deductions are likely to be and, if necessary, adjust the cost later on. This will insure that the letter goes
out on time.
for which we may, under law, retain the security deposit or a portion of it
include the cost to return the unit to habitable condition, the cost of storing
and disposing of unclaimed property, rent owed, and non-payment of utility
charges that the tenant was required to pay directly to the landlord. We
will not deduct the costs of normal wear and tear from the security deposit.
We will mail the written statement and any payment
required to the tenant’s last known address. We will request a “proof of mailing” from the post office.
- We will not wrongfully retain security deposits upon
termination of the owner’s interest in the dwelling unit (whether by sale, assignment,
death, appointment of a receiver or otherwise.)
- If a tenant pays in cash for the rent and/or security
deposit, we will provide properly identified written receipts for each
type of payment. Receipts will be delivered to the tenant at the time
the cash payment is accepted.
If either the rent or the security deposit is accepted in more than
one installment, instead of a single payment, a separate properly
identified receipt shall be given for each
payment and each type of
- In compliance with the federal Telecommunications Act,
we will not deny the installation of an antenna or satellite dish on
property that is within a resident’s exclusive control, such as an
apartment balcony. (Residents are not permitted to
place an antenna in a common area of the property, such as the
roof, unless they have the landlord’s written permission.)
- We will endeavor to keep good records and copies of all
- Lastly, we agree that the board of directors of the
local MAOMA-affiliated chapter to which we belong may, at their option,
suspend any member who fails to abide by these legal, ethical and/or
personal-safety laws, rules, codes, regulations and standards.
* Does not apply to owner-occupied
buildings with 5 or fewer dwelling units.
However, in the case of security deposits, tenant still has the right to
seek the return of his deposit where it has been wrongfully withheld.
MAOMA’s board of directors may, at their option, modify this pledge to conform to any new laws, rules, codes, regulations and community standards.